Reader Cosby Chaney wrote recently to ask about shopping for a small portable computer:
I wonder if maybe you have the time to advise me on something.
I want to pick up a small computer for the rare times I’m away from home and need to check email etc.
I see Notebooks and laptops for low prices and I’m wondering if you have thoughts on this.
Thanks for all the previous tips.
(Now I suppose I need to figure out how to install my Router that’s been sitting around for months) (Smile here.)
I wrote back to Cosby to point him to my articles on my Dell Inspiron 1010 netbook — I love it.
I carry it with me routinely in my attache case — and have been taking it on business trips instead of my office notebook — it’s smaller and lighter.
I use it for the same kind of thing that Cosby says he wants to do. When travelling, I access my personal and office emails and doing some web surfing.
If you think about getting a netbook, there are a couple things to realize. They’re designed for high-speed networking, either wired or wireless.
Most netbooks do not include a dial-up modem (although you can purchase a USB-connected external dialup modem from online retailers:
USB external Rosewill RNX-56USB V.92/56K USB Hardware Based Data/Fax/TAM Modem at Newegg and USB external modems at Amazon.
I also run Office 2007 Professional on the netbook, so I’m able to use Excel and Word files, too.
Of course, there are other alternatives to Office 2007, like the free OpenOffice suite. I used them in the Office 2003 days, but I’m not sure how well they support Office 2007 file formats.
The most challenging aspect of a Windows netbook is that you will have to have all your security software on it, too. Sometimes, that means buying additional licenses, or dropping back to free software. Other software includes multiple licenses or even Unlimited Home Site Licenses, like the one for Sunbelt’s VIPRE Anti-virus & Anti-spyware.
Would I buy another netbook if this one died? You bet!